Posted on behalf of the Federal Government of Germany
Germany highly welcomes the opportunity to comment on the HLPE V0-Draft on constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture. Overall, the paper provides a good as well as balanced assessment of the challenges faced while attempting to facilitate smallholder based agricultural development.
However, the report should take more into account the overall challenges of agricultural development in the context of ensuring food and nutrition security. Agriculture has to feed approximately nine billion people in 2050. Climate Change, declining soil fertility and the consequences of the negligence of the agricultural sector in the past are constraints for increased sustainable agricultural production which is in its own required to implement the human right to adequate food worldwide. FAO estimates that investments of 83 million USD are needed every year to achieve that. The role and the potential of small scale farmers to contribute to increased agricultural production and to benefit by enhancing their own means of production and productivity should be elaborated more detailed in the report.
Since the CFS requested the HLPE to compile a report on constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture, the headline of the V0-Draft is creating the false impression of dealing with investments in smallholder agriculture in general. Yet, the content really covered by the report and requested by the CFS deals with challenges and opportunities to facilitate smallholder based agricultural development by smallholders themselves. As a consequence, Germany recommends changing the headline into “Facilitating smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security”.
Assuming that the above mentioned improved embedding of the topic into overall agricultural challenges will be included, the report is adequate to define smallholder agriculture and their significance.
The used typology is adequate to access the problem. The charts and boxes within the report further simplify the readability of the document.
All in all the constraints are addressed in a proper way. However, the following aspects should be included as well:
While referring to the agricultural dimension of economic growth, the macroeconomic parameters for overall development need to be taken into account as well or at least be kept in mind. In some countries investing in smallholder farming might contradict the optimum of macroeconomic development policies.
While referring to the enforcement of rights regarding existing rights on land the reference to the Voluntary Guidelines of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of national food security and the self-commitment by the states for its implementation has to be included and clearly pointed out.
In general, it is appropriate to focus on small scale farmers because they represent the majority of agricultural producers. Nevertheless, the focus should be on a dynamic development taking small scale farmers as a starting point for further development. A mere conservation of small scale farming structures in the long run should not be the leading idea of this study.
Further, the study recommends states to develop a “National Smallholder Vision and Strategic Framework”. Such an instrument can be regarded as useful in order to better address the smallholder issue within the national agricultural policy planning. However, given the need for synergies and an effective and efficient use of capacities it might be more appropriate to recommend including that kind of framework in already existing international or national frameworks like CAADP or other national agricultural strategies.
Related links and resources:
Constraints to Smallholder Investments - A consultation by the HLPE to set the track of its study
Committe on World Food Security (CFS)
High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE)
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) Key Elements
El Foro FSN es apoyado por el proyecto Respuestas coherentes de seguridad alimentaria: la incorporación del Derecho a la Alimentación en las iniciativas globales y regionales de seguridad alimentaria.